University of Twente Student Theses


Compassion in organisations from supervisors and co-workers : do size and nature of the organisation matter?

Bakker, K. M. (2022) Compassion in organisations from supervisors and co-workers : do size and nature of the organisation matter?

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Abstract:Suffering at work has consequences for the individual but also for organisations. Compassion can be valuable to counteract suffering. Outside of the working context, it has been shown that there is a strong association between compassion and distress and well-being. Within the working context there has not been a lot of research up to now. Besides this, it is unclear to what extent perceived compassion in organisations differs according to the type or size of the organisation. We examined whether and how perceived compassion from supervisor and from co-workers impacts employees’ distress and positive mental well-being. Also, we examined if the degree of perceived compassion was associated with organisational characteristics, namely profit vs. non-profit organisations and the size of the organisation. An online questionnaire was used in which employees of various organisations participated (N = 73). The questionnaire included scales measuring perceived compassion in organisations, job demand, compassionate support, distress, and positive mental well-being. Participants perceived significantly more compassion from their co-workers than from their supervisor. Participants from non-profit organisations perceived more compassion from co-workers than participants from profit organisations. Both perceived compassion from supervisor as well as perceived compassion from co-workers were significantly associated with distress. However, looking at the correlations with positive mental well-being, only compassion from co-workers was significantly correlated. The results show that size of organisation moderates the relationship between perceived compassion from co-workers and positive mental well-being: in larger organisations this relationship was stronger than in smaller organisations. The results suggest that compassion from supervisors is more important for decreasing employees’ distress whereas compassion from co-workers is more important for increasing employees’ positive mental well-being. Further findings underline the different meaning and impact of compassion in organisations according to the type and size of the organisation. The study shows that compassion in organisations can be valuable to counteract the suffering within organisations.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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